Epping Church was established in 1902, after meetings by Brother Tadich resulted in over 35 baptisms. The first church was located on the northern side of Carlingford Road, on corner of Pennant Parade.
Epping Church Burnt Down
"On the 23rd of June 1914, the church of the Seventh-day Adventists at Carlingford, near Epping, was burnt down on Tuesday night. The building was of weatherboard, with an iron roof, and measured about 40 feet by 25 feet. It had just been decorated for Miss Mobbs’ wedding, fixed for the next day, and the decorators left the church at 10 p.m., leaving everything apparently all right. About half an hour later, Mr. Rhodes, who lives about 500 yards away from the church, noticed a glare, and saw that the church was on fire. He gave the alarm, and he and Mr. Sonter were about the first to arrive at the scene of the conflagration. The flames had secured too great a hold of the building for anything to be done, and as there no fire appliances and no water available nothing was attempted. In a short while, the building and all its contents, including an organ, were destroyed. The church was built by volunteer labour; and was not insured. The loss is estimated at £200."
Annie Mobbs and the Nevertire Orchards
Packing fruit at Sonter Orchards
Wedding at Nevertire
The Second Church
Within a fortnight of the disaster, nineteen members held a business meeting and planned the rebuilding of the church. Offerings and pledges were made and a block of ground on the Nevertire Estate, the present site, then valued at ninety pounds, was given by Sister A J Mobbs and her son Lewis. Six months later, on the January 26 Australia Day holiday, a “building bee” consisting of all the brethren of the Epping church and a number from other suburban churches making twenty five in all, met at the site and by the end of that “hottest day of the year” had erected the greater part of the building. It was neatly finished and ready for dedication a few days before the service took place on Sunday April 18 1915. The treasurer’s report showed that 147 pounds 15 shillings and 10 pence had been expended. Besides the gifts of the ground, labour, paint and so on, 86 pounds 17 shillings and 3 pence had been given in cash by the members and local friends. The debit of 60 pounds 18 shillings and 7 pence was a little further reduced by the offering made, which was taken up during the singing of a hymn by a company of children.
Church Debt Paid Off
When Sydney Patrick wrote: “This debt was finally cleared in 1922 by a sum of 100 pounds left in a bequest to the church by a Mr. Chee, a Chinese fruit agent in Sydney.”, it is likely that this date should be some years later and that the benefactor was in fact Mr. William Chie, whose obituary appeared in the Australasian Record written by E G Whittaker:
William Chie, aged sixty-three, died at his residence, Carlingford Road, Epping, on Sunday, September 13, 1925. Brother Chie was one of the pioneer members of the Epping church, having been associated with the message for about twenty years. His health had been somewhat indifferent for some time. He leaves a wife to mourn her loss. We laid him to rest in the Carlingford Cemetery. In the service conducted at his house, his favourite hymn was sung; “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! Oh! What a foretaste of glory divine.”
William Chie was the son of John Chi, a dairy farmer at Avondale, near Wollongong, and his wife Margaret (nee Miller). William and his wife Mary Jane (nee Miller) had been married for 42 years and had two sons, both of whom predeceased their father. His death certificate gives his occupation as “poultry farmer” but he had a productive orchard in Pennant Parade, between Carlingford Road and the Karonga School. On this orchard he grew fine apricots. William Chie resided in a house which he had named “Avondale”, near to Annie Mobbs’ “Nevertire”, between Ryde Road and Midson Road.
Epping Seventh-day Adventist Church would like to thank Carlene Bagnall for her work and effort involved in preserving our history through these archives and pictorials.